Kenya has officially put forth its bid to host the 2025 World Athletics Championships. If successful, Kenya would become the first African country to host the global athletics showpiece.
Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei confirmed to local and international press that the country beat a Friday, October 1 deadline set by World Athletics to submit its bid documents.
Kenya is banking on its status as home to many of the greatest athletes of all time, its reputation as a tourist destination and the country’s love for athletics coupled with strong backing from the government and the private sector to pull off the event.
The fact that Kenya successfully hosted the World Athletics U-18 Championships in 2017 and the World Athletics U-21 Championships in 2021 is expected to play in the country’s favor. Nairobi also hosted the Absa Kip Keino Classic in 2021, the final leg of the Continental Tour Series attracting stars including 100m legend Justin Gatlin and this year’s fastest sprinter Trayvon Bromell.
“It (World Athletics Championships) has never been hosted in Africa and never been done in Kenya, so we believe that it is our time,” Tuwei noted
Kenya’s interest in hosting the World Athletics Championships was first revealed in 2019 by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed after the World Athletics Championships in Doha.
Successful host nations have to invest an estimated $70 Million to $80 Million (Ksh7 Billion – Ksh8 Billion) to stage the championships. Breaking down the expenditure, 33% is allocated to logistics, 19% to broadcast, 2% for ticketing operations and hospitality, 1% for medical and anti-doping, 12% for prize money, 4% for event management and presentation, 10% for event planning, 3% for additional costs and 6% for other costs.
“We couldn’t have managed to get the bid document without government support and we are very grateful…We have engaged virtually all the ministries and private sector partners in putting up a detailed and strong document,” Tuwei noted.
Indicative of the government’s support for the bid, AK revealed that ongoing infrastructure projects including the Nairobi Expressway which is expected to be complete in February 2022 had featured in their bid documents.
To meet the requirement of more than two venues for athletes to train besides the main arena, organizers are also keen on the completion of Jamhuri Park Sports Complex along Ngong Road and Kiambu’s Kirigiti stadium as well as the use of Nyayo Stadium.
“We want them built to the required international standards that include the modern tartan track with eight lanes…These training venue are required closer to the main competition arena and the three are within the radius required,” the AK chief explained.
The track installed at Kasarani Stadium in 2017, which would be the main event arena, could also be overhauled.
A selection panel is expected to visit the country in the first quarter of 2022 to inspect the country’s ability to host the championships before presenting its report to the World Athletics Council. It will be the penultimate step in a process that has so far seen Athletics Kenya jump hurdles including securing a government guarantee of support for the bid.
The council will assess the bids, considering factors including the venues, transport infrastructure, security, accommodation, marketing and more. The chosen host nation will be revealed before the 2022 World Athletics Championships scheduled for July 15-24 next year in Eugene, Oregon in the United States.
Richer countries with superior sporting facilities have expressed interest in hosting the championships, including Kenya’s African counterparts South Africa and Morocco. Tokyo, Japan which this year successfully hosted the Olympic games is also reportedly in the running.
World Athletics, however, told fans that they would have to wait a bit longer to find out the countries who have placed their bids stating that they were not in a position to release the information as it was still early in the process.